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Personnel News

Has Gen Y Taken Over NASA?

By Keith Cowing
April 3, 2009

Rebalancing NASA’s Workforce, posting by Nick Skytland,
“I’d like to share with you some very important workforce policy news. Two weeks ago on March 19, the Agency’s Strategic Management Council (SMC) decided to take action to rebalance our aging workforce. It is now agency policy that we have a goal of 50% of all new civil servant hires will be fresh-out hires. I list the main action here, then the remaining actions below.”
Editor’s note: “Agency policy? Oh really? Is this in the form of a NASA Policy Directive (NPD)? I can’t seem to find it at NODIS. If, however, this is formal agency policy then it would be a new record given the time it usually takes for things to get through the legal gauntlet at NASA. Also, I would think that the agency would also use formal Human Resources means to inform the workforce of this major decision – and not let a unofficial website announce it. As such, I think a few folks have jumped the gun and/or are confused as to what the distinction is between an “action” coming out of an internal management meeting and a formal, governmental policy decree.
Now, don’t get me wrong, NASA certainly has a skill mix and age imbalance that it desperately needs to fix in order to accomplish the tasks that lie ahead, but this starts to sound like slow-motion age discrimination to me. And to be quite honest, I am not certain that the job market for fresh-out hires can support NASA’s needs or that an arbitrary 50% of the open positions within the agency can be (or should be) filled with people with little or no experience.
The process is a little more complex than a few people reacting to some Powerpoint charts. You can’t just Twitter a policy into existence – at least not yet. Stay tuned.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.